JUNEAU — A federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments Thursday in a case alleging that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency worked with critics of the proposed Pebble mine with a predetermined goal to block the project.
The lawsuit was brought by the Pebble Limited Partnership, which is seeking to advance the project near the headwaters of a world-premier salmon fishery in Alaska. Pebble alleges that the EPA violated a federal law by establishing and working with groups of mine critics that essentially acted as advisory committees but failed to comply with requirements of that law, such as noticing meetings or making available transcripts.
But the EPA in court records says Pebble's lawsuit fails to mention the "countless contacts" Pebble had with the EPA, and it sees the case as a bid to undermine the agency's proposal to protect parts of the Bristol Bay region from development. It wants the case dismissed.
Arguments are scheduled for Thursday in Anchorage on whether the case should advance.
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